Dad faces trial on baby death

Julia Medew
October 30, 2007

A LILYDALE man has pleaded not guilty to murdering his six-week-old baby, who allegedly received deliberate blows to his head and fractures to his body during his short life.

Troy Grant Wells, 28, was yesterday committed to stand trial in the Supreme Court on one charge of murdering his son, Joshua John Wells, just after Christmas last year.

The Melbourne Magistrates Court heard the carpenter was the sole carer of Joshua between 11pm and 2.30am on the night of December 27 when the infant stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest.

According to a prosecution summary tendered to the court yesterday, Joshua was unsettled and several attempts by Wells to put him to sleep had failed before he stopped breathing.

The court heard paramedics tried to resuscitate the baby for more than an hour before he was transported to the Royal Children's Hospital and pronounced dead.

In a statement to the court, forensic pathologist Dr Noel Woodford said an autopsy revealed Joshua had died from a hemorrhage arising from two separate and distinct head injuries caused by blunt force trauma.

He said the baby boy had also suffered multiple fractures to his ribs, upper right arm and lower right leg on different occasions in the weeks leading up to his death.

The court heard Wells told police he accidentally dropped Joshua shortly before he stopped breathing but failed to tell his partner, paramedics or hospital staff about the incident because he was scared and ashamed.

Wells' lawyer, Joseph Toal, applied for his client to be released on bail yesterday, arguing Wells had a clean history and that the prosecution case against him was weak.

But magistrate Maurice Gurvich said Mr Toal's argument did not amount to the exceptional circumstances required for the court to grant bail to Wells.

Mr Gurvich ruled there was evidence of sufficient weight for Wells to stand trial and remanded him in custody to appear at the Supreme Court for a directions hearing on November 12.